U.S. Said to Import Brazilian Ethanol After Price Rally

The U.S. is importing ethanol from Brazil after an 81 percent rally in domestic prices this year, according to two people with knowledge of a shipment.

The vessel Chembulk Ulsan is scheduled to load 5.3 million gallons (20 million liters) of ethanol at Brazil’s Port of Santos on April 3 and deliver it later next month at the Port of Tampa, Florida, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because terms aren’t public.

The shipment is from Sao Paulo-based Copersucar SA, Brazil’s largest ethanol exporter, the people said.

“The U.S. is a buyer, especially in the past three weeks, after prices jumped,” Tarcilo Rodrigues, a director at Sao Paulo-based trading company Bioagencia said in a telephone interview. “Unfortunately, Brazilian distillers don’t have a lot of ethanol in storage to export,” he said.

Denatured ethanol for April delivery gained 20.7 cents to settle at $3.459 a gallon today on the Chicago Board of Trade. The first-quarter rally was the best performance among 35 commodities tracked by Bloomberg, after cold, snow and competition for rail slowed deliveries from the U.S. Midwest, where most of the ethanol is produced, to consumer markets on the East Coast.

An official for Copersucar, who isn’t authorized to speak publicly because of company’s policy, declined to comment on the ethanol shipment.

The U.S imported 7.29 million barrels of ethanol last year, down 38 percent from a year earlier, after a record corn crop increased supplies of the biofuel-making raw material, data from the Energy Information Administration show.